Sunday, January 24, 2010

Discover the secret to motivating your team members

Over many years of facilitating leadership development programs I have been continually asked, "What is the secret to motivating my team members?".

I have been taking the participants of our programs through a simple three step process to find the answer to this question. You might like to treat this process as an activity, so why not pull out some paper and pen and see what answers emerge for you.

Step One
Rather than focusing upon the factors that will enable you, as a leader, to motivate your team members, let's consider your thoughts about the factors that enable you to be the best that you can be at work. Take out your pen and paper and jot down some points that, for you, enable you to be highly motivated at work.

Once you have completed your answer, look at the typical responses that I have received over many years of collecting participant responses to this question.

The following are the Top 10 typical responses that are listed in no particular order of importance.
• Recognition for the work that has been done
• Opportunities to be creative
• A sense of contributing to the company
• A sense that what I do has value
• A fair wage for my contribution, all things considered
• Being treated fairly and trusted to do my job
• Being given appropriate feedback on my performance
• Having work that is interesting and that uses my skills
• Having opportunities to develop and grow in the business
• Having opportunities for promotion

Step Two
Now place yourself into your leadership role. What factors do you think will enable your team members to perform to the best of their ability? Once again take out your pen and paper and write down your answer to this question.

Once you have completed your answer, look at the typical responses that I have received over many years of collecting participant responses to this question.

The following are the Top 10 typical responses that I have received over many years of asking this question.
• Being given compliments and recognition for doing good work
• Having appropriate work delegated to them
• Having opportunities to progress their career
• Having training and development opportunities
• Having work that uses their skills
• Being paid appropriately for their work, all things considered
• Having leadership opportunities
• Being shown that management actually cares about them as a person
• Being trusted to do their job
• Being consulted about changes before they happen

Step Three
Look at both lists of responses. What do you notice? What stands out to you?
Many people have responded that they are surprised at the similarities between the two lists. When I have asked why they are surprised about the similarities between the two lists, people have responded that they somehow thought that the motivators for leaders and everyone else would be different. In reality it seems that most people’s motivations are fairly similar.

In summary, people want:
• To be paid fairly for what they do
• To be provided work that uses their skills
• To be provided training and development opportunities
• To be recognised for the work that they do
• To be trusted to do their job properly
• To be provided with opportunities for advancement or promotion
• To be included in making decisions about changes that will affect them
• To be treated fairly including being given feedback on their performance
• To be shown that people in the organisation actually care about them as a person
• To have work that has some value

How to use this information
As a leader the easiest way to use this information is to look at the three lists and ask yourself, “How am I and my organisation performing with each of these motivating factors?”. Neither leaders nor organisations are perfect, so you are unlikely to have a positive tick against each item. However, if your team members are lacking motivation then I guarantee that the underlying reason will lie in what you and your organisation are not doing to help them to maintain their motivation.

The beauty about this simple exercise is that it can quickly highlight what you can do to increase motivation. If you discover that you aren’t properly recognising your team members for the work that they are doing, then start doing this behaviour. If you recognise that you aren’t providing appropriate development opportunities for your team members, then consult with your People & Culture department and discover how they might be able to help you. If you discover that some of your team members aren’t being paid properly, all things considered, why not commence whatever processes that you can to increase their pay to a more appropriate level? These actions and others can be taken to quickly enhance the motivation of your team members.

Motivating team members is not as difficult as many leaders think. Follow the three steps above and take action based on your results. You will be pleasantly surprised by the increase in motivation that your team members display..

Please feel free to comment or to ask questions about this article.

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